Let's face it -- you know that working out is good for your health, but vanity is one of the strongest motivators for most people. According to Gordon Paxter, author of several books on physical attractiveness, people are wired to strive for attractiveness because of the opportunities it creates -- including better salaries, mate selection and employment opportunities. So don't feel bad if your gym ambition is fueled by a desire to look better. With the strong emphasis placed on the shape of women's derrieres, more and more women are hitting the treadmills and leg machines in hopes of sculpting a better booty. Keep a few things in mind to maximize the posterior benefits of these workouts.
Perform cardio to melt off your butt jiggle. You can have the cutest butt in the universe, but you'll never know it if it's covered with a layer of fat. To burn 1 pound of fat, you've got to create a 3,500 calorie deficit, and cardio is a great way to do this. Instead of only performing steady-state cardio in the alleged "fat-burning zone," the IDEA Health & Fitness Association recommends performing high-intensity intervals to maximize your calorie burn. For example, complete five to six three-minute intervals at 95 to 100 percent of your maximum heart rate, allowing a two-minute active recovery between each. The American Heart Association recommends performing at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio each week.
Engage in butt resistance-training exercises at least once a week. To build and sculpt your glutes, you'll need to perform sets of eight to 12 repetitions. There are many effective exercises to target your butt that use a variety of equipment. Use free weights to perform squats, deadlifts and lunges. The leg curl and butt blaster machines are excellent isolation exercises that will also work your glutes. Explosive, plyometric movements such as box jumps and mountain climbers will amp up your calorie burn while blasting your butt.
Eat a clean diet. Although this isn't something you'll necessarily do in the gym -- unless you're really hungry -- eating clean is paramount for burning fat and building muscle to create a beautiful booty. Stick with a diet rich in lean proteins such as fish, chicken breast and egg whites. Eat plenty of fresh produce and limit your carbohydrate intake to whole grains like oatmeal and brown rice. Avoid processed foods, which contain unhealthy additives like high-fructose corn syrup and excessive sodium.
- LA Times: In-Your-Face Fitness: Vanity Can Be A Healthy Asset
- IDEA Health & Fitness Association: Burning Fat: Myths and Facts
- American Heart Association: American Heart Association Recommendations For Physical Activity In Adults
- MayoClinic.com: Exercise For WeightLoss: Calories Burned In 1 Hour
- AceFitness.org: Butt & Hip Exercises
- Track your diet and exercise routine in a journal. Physical changes are an incredible motivator, so monitor your progress with circumference measurements, body fat testing or progress pictures. Try to limit your emphasis on the scale. As you build your glutes and burn fat, you may notice a slight initial weight gain. Just remember that muscle weight is good weight.
- Talk with your doctor before starting a new diet or exercise program. Always use a spotter and proper form when performing resistance-training exercises.
Jessica Bell has been working in the health and fitness industry since 2002. She has served as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor. Bell holds an M.A. in communications and a B.A. in English.